Location: London, England
It’s about time I wrote about a Thai restaurant in London! I adore Thai cuisine — in fact, I have since I was a 12 year old middle schooler living in Bangkok. For me, Thai food will always be a source of comfort. But since moving from Thailand to the US and then the UK, it has been incredibly different to find good Thai food. It’s always mediocre, or just not the way I know it can be. I can’t describe the sheer amount of joy I felt when I finally tasted those comforting flavours at Kiln. Sweet, sweet joy.
Kiln is a Thai grill, also serving seafood and claypots. The dishes served here are influenced by the food of northern Thailand, Burma and Laos, so there’s a wide array of flavours. The founder and head chef, Ben Chapman, has pioneered a style of Thai-inspired cooking that makes the most of great British ingredients. His first restaurant was Smoking Goat, and Kiln is his second adventure. I have been to Kiln twice, and both experiences were indeed incredible. The second time around my partner and I got to sit at the bar which I really think is the best seat in the house.
We started with the clay pot baked glass noodles with brown crab meat (the menu also lists tamworth belly, but you can omit this) and dry red curry of sardines with some brown jasmine rice. The glass noodles were divine, and perfectly paired with the crab. I also thoroughly enjoyed the sardines. They were fried gently and served with a delicious red sauce. Again, a great pairing of flavours and textures.
Below shows the sour turmeric curry of turbot (more on that later) and fried curried monkfish, along with the stir fried cornish greens and soy. Monkfish is a great fish to start with, but the sauteed texture along with these deep bodied curry really hit the spot. The greens remind the customer where we are in the world, and so takes advantage of deliciously fresh British produce.
Pictured to the right is the sour turmeric curry of turbot again so let me give that a review. The fish was so tender, and the flavours of the curry seemed gently into the fish so as to provide an explosion of a dish. We also had the northern style turnip, radish and herb salad. Like the greens salad above, this salad was also light and refreshing. I think this is mostly what is missing from cheap, imitation Thai restaurants: that freshness. Thai food is not noodles drowned in thick sauces that overwhelm the dish. Thai dishes are perfectly balanced with all the different types of flavours.
My partner and I went to Kiln to celebrate a wonderful career milestone in my life, and such an adventure was more than befitting. I truly enjoyed these comforting and enticing dishes. They really warm your soul.